Mother of Moons Bathing

Cover Image

Aranos - Mother of Moons Bathing

November 2007
US CD Soleilmoon SOL145
  1. Awaking Horns
  2. New Boyfriend - [MP3]
  3. Some Clowns Are Not Funny
  4. Almost Pulled Through
  5. Legs Thighs Splits
  6. I Saw Women's Rising Fry - [MP3]
  7. Ta-taa-ta, Taah merged
  8. Towards Glittering Warm Dumplings
  9. Invisibility Cloak of Time - [MP3]

The album covers a lot of ground, and refuses to be categorized, unless "Aranos" can be its own category. It opens with "Awaking Horns", a minimalist piece built around a simple repeating click track containing absolutely no horns whatsoever. "New Boyfriend" begins as a jaunty ode to new-found love, but the conversation between mother and daughter turns dark as it's revealed that the new boyfriend has a dodgy past with little girls. "Some Clowns Are Not Funny" and "Almost Pulled Through" are a pair of scary electro-acoustic roller coaster rides that sound like they might have escaped from Steve Stapleton's little shop of horrors. The fifth song, "Legs Thighs Splits" returns to the gently fun whimsy started with "New Boyfriend", but trades literal meaning for delicious texture and experimentation. "I saw Women's Rising Fry" is a song of fearlessly eccentric lyrics married to complex, brain-tingling instrumental arrangements. "Ta-taa-ta, Taah merged" is a side dish of looped, sampled vocal minimalism leading into the the longest track on the CD, "Towards Glittering Warm Dumplings", a rolling trance-dance weighing in at more than 21 minutes. "Invisibility Cloak of Time", another minimalist electro-acoustic instrumental, closes the album. The total length of "Mother of Moons Bathing" is 71 minutes 41 seconds, and it's sheer bliss from start to finish.

In the face of a market dominated by increasingly bland visuals and dire throw-away packaging, this album stands apart. In the tradition of other Soleilmoon releases, the presentation for "Mother of Moons Bathing" is second to none. This time the CD comes in a hand-made silk-screened soft-textured folder with a pair a sparkly screen-printed inserts backing up the disc inside. The costly and stunning materials have work together to produce a pleasingly harmonious package that will appeal to music fans and serious collectors alike. "Mother of Moons Bathing" is limited to 400 copies.

After his child was taken away and sent to slavery Carlos resigned himself to becoming low to medium quality moon fodder. Spending his days in rearranging surface molecules with his broken arms and dislocated shoulders while filling his eyes and lungs with yellow dust. All the while pondering impermanence of the unpredictable his reward was flow of hill magic and stunning sunsets. Too much knowledge gathered over the years was proving to be a mixed blessing. Change of timbre in his diabetic movement master's voice clearly indicated a forthcoming constriction of coronary arteries, but there was nothing Carlos could do. Certainly not over the distance of four and a half thousand miles. The only thing was to accept all. Child slavery, master's coronary, yellow dust, beautiful sunsets, flow of magic...

On first spins, we hear a highly bewildering mixture of things. Dark ambient instrumentals and slow-moving creaky floorboard soundscapes alternate with highly idiosyncratic songs, performed with a lilting acoustic guitar so as to resemble a kind of avant-garde calypso and delivered in one of the most peculiar singing voices you have heard since the work of L Voag (ex The Homosexuals). If still not sufficiently baffled, the inquiring mind can make what it will of absurdist titles such as ‘Towards Glittering Warm Dumplings’ and ‘Invisibility Cloak of Time’. These last two are assigned to two long tracks at the end of this bizarre release, the ‘Dumplings’ suite in particular emerging as a brilliantly demented 21-minute excursion into the Amazonian heart of darkness, apparently while riding on the back of a gigantic five-legged beetle. Play this track last thing at night, and who knows what dreams it will engender in your fervoured noggin! - Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector

There was a time when I heard the music of Muslimgauze almost every day, because it was my work back then. When it was no longer my work, I didn't play it again for three years, unless I was reviewing something for these pages. I still like that small, minimal intake, but there is no necessity to keep up with everything that still sits in vaults, now, almost ten years after Bryn Jones died. My best guess is that Soleilmoon has the best filled vault when it comes to unreleased Muslimgauze music. Jones working methods were very straight forward: sampling drum bits, ethnic (arabic) sounds and cook up a mix with electronics. Taping everything for possible release, Jones would mail off everything to his labels, Soleilmoon and Staalplaat. But not every master contained great music: some of the pieces were too sketch like to be released. Probably one of the reasons why not everything has been released. It would be a good idea, me thinks, if a dedicated producer would take the best bits and make a proper release. As such we should also see this release. Muslimgauze liked to make 'remixes' of whatever he was sent, and through the connection he had to that ever lasting, friendly Japanese force Satoshi Morita he got to know Micheal Wadada, also known as Suns Of Arqa, who produces some curious mix of reggae and eastern music. In 1996 Jones created these twenty-one remixes, which are sometimes merely a curious notion, a sketch, a start but also some great pieces. Here's where the producer should have come into action: select these great moments, shape them a bit further and make that killer CD. But now it's too much a mix up of great and weak moments. Great for completists though and that's perhaps why releases like this will appear until the vaults are really empty. I am not sure wether I reviewed the music of Aranos, who is from the Czech part of Bohemia but now lives in Ireland, not far away from Steve Stapleton. Perhaps not, but I don't know the reasons. There have been releases on Beta Lactam-ring Records, Brainwashed, Crouton, Klanggalerie, Noise Museum an United Daries. It's certainly not music that is easy to catch - and maybe that's my problem with it. His principle instrument was the violin, but Aranos plays so much more, mainly in the field of electronics, looping sounds and voices. Sometimes one has the idea that it's a folk like record, but electric, but there is also the Reichanian looped voices in 'Ta-taa-ta, Taah Merged' or the long violin improvisations of 'Towards Glittering Warm Dumplings' that moves towards a dance piece. Tracks run into eachother, which makes things even more complicated. The influence of Stapleton's Nurse With Wound is never far away, the two share a taste for the bizarre combination of music, although Aranos puts them on one album, and the Nurses one style per album. I am not sure if this mixture really appeals to me: there are certainly bits and pieces that I like, but as a whole, as an album it didn't work for me. Too fragmented and scattered, and not all the ideas fully explored. Some pieces needed some more editing and working it seemed. Mixed music bag received with mixed feelings. - Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Bohemian based composer Aranos is not someone who is easily put into any one category basket. You could put him into a quasi-classical bin, but then again his experiments are too diverse. I guess you could try and lump him into the ambient camp, but then he refuses to settle down and provide music that is calm enough to fit that genre. His latest project "Mother of Moons Bathing" catches him on the cusp of variety of categories. "Awaking Horns" starts the proceedings with repetitive, subtle clicks, which then moves into vocal improvised melodies on "New Boyfriend". Next piece "Some Clowns are Not Funny" pursues a wild, cacophonous cello improvisation. Album's strongest piece is the twenty minute long "Towards Glittering Warm Dumplings". With a subtle, boiling, popping sound, the music moves into the realm of an acoustic form of drone-inducing acid house. Limited to a bare 400 copies and packaged in the usual, gorgeous Soleilmoon art, this is a very rewarding album, which refuses to have a category attached on its front cover. - Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta

Much against our deeply rooted natural instincts, alienation and a certain sense of disorientation should not worry us. As Aranos proves on “Mother of Moons Bathing”, they may actually allow us to see certain aspects of the world more clearly than ever before. The fact that this Czech multiinstrumentalist should believe in the power of the unconscious, in hidden meanings and in the co-existence of a fact and its negation can come as no suprise when considering his friendship and musical vicinity to the work and persona of Steven Stapleton aka Nurse with Wound. Just like Stapleton, Aranos enjoys working with his material in a playful way but with a very lucid idea of what he wants to achieve: While many would label his techniques as naive, Aranos’ highly disturbing pieces and coherent patchworks of songs and tracks speak a more serious language and always suggest something different than their outward appearance might lead one to think . “Mother of Moons Bathing” is a perfect example of how his methods and samples are culled from a wide and seemingly random array of creative sources, but eventually form a remarkably cohesive entity because the will of their sculptor binds them tightly together. Working with minimal electronica, bluegrass, a capella polyphony experiments, angry avantgarde folk and symphonies for creaking doors and pig squealing may sound pretty arbitrary on paper, but after the initial inner resistance against these on-a-dime stylistic maneuvres has been overcome, a clear pattern starts manifesting itself and the record settles into a comfortable groove of confounding expectations. This pattern is dominated by the preference of decay above development. “New Boyfriend” starts out as a swinging ode to love, but then deteriorates into a tale of suggested pedophelia and child molestation, while the song structures of “I saw a woman’s rising fry” are gradually dissected, dematerialising into a collage of solitary elements running through a string of manipulations, which leaves their timbral characteristics all but intact, yet plays them against each other to arrive at bizarre and beweildering effects. It is possibly the only constant factor on a work which is torn apart right in the middle. After six to-the-point pieces, “Mother of Moons Bathing” closes with two compositions around the twenty minute mark, essentially constituting a second album of their own. The silent finale “Invisibility Cloak of Time” is a majestically quiet and otherwordly trio for ultradeep cymbal drones, flute and swelling saxophone, but it is really “Towards Glittering Warm Dunplings”, which stretches the fabric of sound to its limits. Strings of either a cello, bass or violin are tuned and detuned, stretched and relaxed to form rhythmic and harmonic confluence, while a Jazz band desperately tries to make sense of it all. In the corridors of these croaking and creaking noises, every aspect of reality is lost. All elements of a regular band are still there, but without the usual methods of interaction and lacking in the traditional means of expression. It is a confrontational yet humourous, serene yet easy-going track, whose alienating foreignness allows the listener to recognise the minutiae of every variation in pitch, colour or beat. It is also the natural culmination of an album, which makes feeling lost for direction an exciting proposition. - Tobias Fischer, Tokafi

Before I even got around to playing this album I was intrigued by the album's packaging. The red fuzzy sleeve contains both the CD (obviously) and sleeve notes printed on a thin, Styrofoam-like material. The different textures of the materials are at first baffling but then a certain kind of logic begins to emerge while listening to the album. The music itself changes texture persistently, from soft to rough, from hard to gooey; by the time I adjust to a piece I am lost again. It is a wonderful feeling, like being a little drunk in a foreign town. Aranos is no stranger to variety, his music constantly changing shape from moment to moment and the pieces here do not break from this mold. The bizarre and repetitive barbershop of "New Boyfriend" is sandwiched between completely different styles. Preceded by "Awaking Horns," a very minimalist style composition that sounds almost like the run-off of a vinyl groove, and followed by the amusicality of "Some Clowns are Not Funny," "New Boyfriend” sounds like an island of melody in a sea of atonality. However, the island is nice enough to explore but the real fun is taking a dip in that sea, getting lost in the different sounds that make up "Some Clowns Are Not Funny." The creaking noises and the sound of hailstones on a hard surface are like the most exquisite coral and brightly coloured fish. The first seven tracks fly from the stereo like scattering bullets, ranging in size from just over a minute to just under ten. Then Aranos throws another curveball. Not content with jumping styles, he includes too very long tracks at the end of the album. After the bite size chunks from earlier in the album, these two pieces are daunting to say the least. "Towards Glittering Warm Dumplings" is the sound of strange percussive scrapings, what sounds like guitar strings and some other heavily processed scrapes. Slowly Aranos adds other layers of rhythms and slight melody to the piece, the overall effect is like some of Faust's tape collages; something both familiar sounding but also completely warped. Mother of Moons Bathing finishes with the sublime "Invisibility Cloak of Time," featuring all soft drones and haunting ambiences. After the varied and sometimes frenetic music that has come before, "Invisibility Cloak..." is an unexpectedly calm end to a fascinating album. The best way I can describe Mother of Moons Bathing is that it is an adventure. Dropped into it without much of a map (just a stanza of poetry in the sleeve notes), it is wonderful to just wander through it, not knowing what is coming next. As I am getting more used to the album's twists and turns, it allows me more time to pay attention to the immediate surroundings of the music. The textures are not just limited to the materials making up the sleeve; it is almost possible to run a finger along the sounds themselves. - John Kealy, Brainwashed